Dead End: What ‘End of Life’ Means for your BI Tool Version

What to Do Whether It’s SAP’s BI, Xcelsius, IBM Cognos, Microsoft or Oracle

If it was the thought that counted, we’d all be fine. It starts out innocent enough. You put off upgrading for a variety of reasons.  Whether you must stay on an old server because of conflicting application requirements, you don’t have the budget, or you simply don’t know the best next step (or can’t get consensus), putting off an upgrade seems like your only option at the time. The problem is, the day of reckoning may be nigh.

End of the Road for SAP XI 3.1 and BI 4.0

The Grim Reaper stands on the calendar square marked December 31, 2017. The lists he holds shows SAP’s BI 4.0 at the top of it. Ironically, the older XI 3.1 doesn’t run out of Priority 1 Support until the end of 2018, according to page 11 of this BI Maintenance Release Roadmap. Neither have enjoyed mainstream maintenance since the end of 2015 and the ticking clock of emergency help is now running out. For SAP’s overall release strategy, see page 10.

Why Upgrade?

For establishments tied to a government or municipality, such as utility companies or state universities, there is a compliance issue of having to be on a supported version for audit purposes. Beyond the obvious, there are numerous performance and feature-based reasons for an upgrade. Moving to a 64-bit architecture can keep your bigger reports from crashing after running out of memory. There are extra mobile BI capabilities, better self-discovery tools and new geospatial abilities. You’ll see boosted cloud solutions, integration with the powerful in-memory platform HANA, and an all-round simplification of portfolio.

Flash Dooms SAP’s Xcelsius

One specific example of a product in need of upgrade consideration is SAP’s Flash-based Dashboards (Xcelsius). We all know Flash is phasing out.  Browsers are supporting it less and less. There are inherent security risks with Flash.  And with mobile/tablet reporting being more of an expectation than an option today, there is no doubt those still utilizing this technology should upgrade to a newer SAP reporting tool. Yet, Xcelsius is still shipped with the latest version of BusinessObjects, despite its slow demise and no investment from SAP in years. So, why the hurry? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Except for that proverbial day of reckoning: That security issue in Flash that is IT’s last straw. That day when what you’re doing is no longer supported in a browser. The day when the decision is made to view everything in the field via tablet…tomorrow. The story of the company that was going to disable Flash on the corporate network…Monday gave me pause to pen this blog. How do those hundreds of users handle their Xcelsius reports on Monday?

What if I Use Cognos, Microsoft, Oracle or Another BI Tool?

As other BI tool versions such as Oracle BI, Microsoft BI or IBM Cognos reach their end of life deadlines, the dates may change, but the story remains the same. You shouldn’t delay upgrading your BI environment, as you are simply putting your system at unnecessary risk. In most cases, as end of life approaches, support is often limited to, essentially, emergency help only. There are no bug fixes or new functionality developed for the platform, including possible issues with hardware.

Upgrade and Pull Your Data Together from Nearly Any ERP/Source

The time to upgrade is often a good time to review your data architecture and BI environment as a whole. Companies that consolidate multiple BI tools into a standardized and enterprise-wide portfolio have 36% lower BI expenditures. SAP’s BusinessObjects has proven both robust and versatile. As your BI tool reaches the end of the line, you may wish to consider this product. 70-80% of our BOBJ clients use Oracle, J.D. Edwards or something other than SAP ERP. Many are pulling from other sources like ADT, PeopleSoft or Salesforce for Human Resources or sales data to report on against other data in their ERP. Universities may pull from Banner, healthcare clients from Cerner and public works departments from Cityworks or VUEworks. BOBJ is flexible enough to handle it all and scalable from five users to thousands.

Remember, if you’re an SAP client, it’s likely you’ve been paying maintenance and may own and be able to simply access the latest upgrade.  If you’re using another BI tool, BusinessObjects may be a consideration as you look at options moving forward. Regardless, keep your data safe and make sure you upgrade. If you need to bounce an idea off someone or need assistance with your upgrade, please reach out to us. As a Gold Service Partner, it’s Kingfisher’s responsibility to make sure you’re getting the most out of your BI platform.

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By |2018-09-02T17:39:46+00:00October 31st, 2017|BI, Business, Business Intelligence, Kingfisher|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jason is the Marketing/Creative Director at Kingfisher. While he can’t juggle (yet), his background in marketing, advertising, web design, creative writing, journalism and news media allow him to juggle the many hats necessary to be worn in a small marketing department. When he’s not on the ice playing hockey, he can be reached at Jason.Bennitt@kingfisherinc.com.